Category: <span>Local Government News</span>

28 May 2019 World No-Tobacco Day 2019

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with George Municipality, Department of Health, Breede Gouritz Catchment Agency, CANSA and Cape Nature will embark on a silent march this Friday, 31 May 2019 in celebrating World No-Tobacco Day. The march will start at 10H00 at GRDM (Head office), proceeding up York Street, right at Hibernia Street, and then a turn will be taken at Cradock Street, marchers will proceed towards Engen garage, from there, those marching will move back to GRDM (Head office).

World No-Tobacco Day is held across the world every year on 31 May.  The theme from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 2019 is “Tobacco and Lung Health”.  It highlights the link between the use of tobacco products and lung diseases.

The campaign will increase awareness on:

  • the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease,
  • the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.
  • implications of second-hand exposure for lung health of people across age groups

Each year, the WHO selects a theme for the day in order to create a more unified global message for World No-Tobacco Day. The focus this year is on the harmful effects that all tobacco products have on the health of lungs and even more so, the undeveloped lungs of babies and children.

According to WHO, globally an estimated 165 000 children die before the age of five (5) of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adulthood.

The poisons in tobacco smoke inhaled by pregnant women or second hand smoke exposure experienced by them, will affect an unborn baby which may result in low birth weight, a cleft lip or palate. Babies also risk being born prematurely.

“Looking after little lungs” is a call-to-action to raise awareness that active and passive smoking of those around children can affect their underdeveloped lungs so increasing their chances of getting pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and continuous ear infections. Pregnant women should never smoke a hookah (water pipe) as that is the same as inhaling 100 cigarettes in one session.  Parents and other caregivers should smoke outside the house and never in a vehicle if there is a child under 18 years present. Smoke stays on the breath of a smoker so parents should take a few deep breaths before going into the house.  Smoke particles can also stick to clothing which the child can inhale causing lung damage.

People who have tuberculosis should not smoke at all because of the double burden placed on the lungs, which will increase the risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.  Those who have diabetes should not smoke either as it can restrict blood-flow to the legs, which increases the risk of gangrene and amputations.

Tobacco smoke can hang in the air for up to five hours, exposing those passing through to an increase in respiratory diseases, cancers and reduced lung function.

It is better never to start smoking because it is known to be difficult to end the cycle. Smoking cessation is possible and it has huge health benefits.


16 April 2019 A first SODA for the Garden Route

On 12 April 2019, the Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Councillor Memory Booysen, took an unprecedented step for the District by delivering its first State of the District Address (SODA). The purpose of such an address is to outline the council’s achievements, as well as to emphasise the exciting future projects and spin-offs for local municipalities (Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland) in the region.

More than 200 people attended the event, including the mayors of all b-municipalities, councillors, faith-based community leaders, business owners, stakeholders, media and municipal officials.

The programme was directed by the GRDM Speaker, Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies. In a moment of reminiscence, Bouw-Spies touched on how council, even before she became speaker, have been able to take non-partisan decisions to the benefit of the region’s brand and economy.  “I might not have been actively involved at the district council, but since my appointment as speaker late last year, I have been responsible for mediating some vigorous – sometimes robust debates, but in my objective view as the Speaker, I have also seen how both sides of the house have been in agreement on many occasions. A prime example of our synergy and decisions made in the best interest of our region was changing our municipality’s name and visual identity. Have you ever seen a name-changing process unfold with such ease as well as a new logo adopted without much hassle? The transition was indeed a beautiful, inclusive and a well-thought-through process,” she said.

Garden Route DM Speaker and Programme Director, Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies directed the Garden Route DM SODA.

During Councillor Booysen’s keynote address, he focused on the following topics:

  • Improvement in local service delivery;
  • Current socio-economic risks;
  • Embracing the district municipality’s functions and powers as set out by Section 84 of the Local Government Structures Act 117 of 1998;
  • 2019/2020 GRDM budget;
  • Regional investment opportunities;
  • Disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction funding;
  • A future of sustainable energy future;
  • Game changers going forward;
  • Empowerment of youth and women;
  • Building a cohesive region through signature events; and
  • Empowerment of women and the youth.
Cllr Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies (GRDM Speaker) and Mr Leiee Edwin Mosesi (Public Sector Provincial Manager), presents a cheque of R15 000.00 to Group of Hope Disability Group.
Cllr Memory Booysen (GRDM Executive Mayor), New Horizon Pensioners Forum representative and Mr Leiee Edwin Mosesi (Public Sector Provincial Manager), presents a cheque of R15 000.00 to New Horizon Pensioner’s Forum.


Mayor Booysen also placed emphasis on the fight to empower youth and women, which must be taken to the mainstream economy so that it reflects the diverse character of the Garden Route. “GRDM has transitioned young men and women to the driving school program, which is currently underway. Out of 26 participants in the driving school program, 23 are women.

The municipality continues to provide bursaries to the youth of our district, through the office of the executive mayor. “It is through education that we can unleash creativity and cultivate a spirit of resilience among citizens,” said Booysen.


Mayor Booysen extended a special word to Ms Erina de Villiers, Personal Assistant to the municipal manager, Mr Monde Stratu. She retires at the end of April 2019. Booysen described Erina as “not only an employee of this municipality or a colleague to others but a mother to the institution.”

“She has been with this institution for 22 years, happily married to Mr Jacobus de Villiers, blessed with two (2) children and five (5) grandchildren. I can tell you that she inherited more children at GRDM with the municipal manager being her first-born.

During her employment at GRDM, Erina worked in the following sections:

  • Office of the Municipal Manager (current);
  • Records and Archives;
  • Project Management; and
  • Office of the Mayor.
Honoring one of the District Municipality’s employees, Ms Erina de Villiers, who will be retiring at the end of April 2019, are b-municipal Executive Mayors (fLTR), Cllr Mark Willemse (Knysna), Cllr Grant Riddles (Hessequa), Cllr Memory Booysen (GRDM), Cllr Magdalene Barry (Kannaland), Ms Erina de Villiers (PA to the MM at GRDM) and Cllr Eleanore Bouw-Spies (GRDM Speaker


Later during the course of the programme, Grant-in-Aid funds were handed over. The following organisations identified for this year, in no particular order, include: Albertinia Museum, Zoar Culture and Heritage Festival, Bambino Voorskool, Emmanuel Pre & aftercare Centre, Neskuikentjie Daycare, Plett Active Youth, Piet Julies Aids Action Group, Heidal Senior Citizens Club, Die Mosselbaai Benevolent Vereniging vir Bejaarde Sorg, Joey’s Babies kleuterskool, Soete Uurtjies Dagsorgsentrum, Suurvlakte Initiative, Rehoboth and Yona – Yethu Initiative.

Nedbank sponsored the New Horizon Pensioners Forum and Group Of Hope Disability Group.


Mayor Booysen shared some of his dreams for the district: “A ‘One District’ …a dream of what we can be.”

“How we share and shape our future together – a future where more and more of our people see and believe in rich vistas of opportunity; an environment where the Garden Route dream is embraced as the district dream,” Booysen said.

Booysen’s ideas on how to collectively build a “One District” of our dreams where everyone has the opportunity to participate in a diverse and thriving economy, could be achieved through the following:

  • Being able to live in a safe neighbourhood, free from crime;
  • Having the opportunity as parents to send one’s children to a quality public school of your choice;
  • Living a limitless life – allowing one to thrive as an individual and/or family;
  • For a business to be given a solid return on their investment by their government and high-quality customer service from public servants; and
  • A region that is environmentally sound in a sustainable world-renowned region.

In closing, Mayor Booysen pleaded with everyone to take full advantage of their lives and to follow a path that would provide a prosperous future, harness change for the better, and build the elusive “One District” that we all dream of.

To access the speech of Councillor Memory Booysen, click on the following link:

Pictures of the SODA can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

29 November 2018 Garden Route DM and role-players officially launch its “16 Days for No Violence against Women and Children campaign”

This year, on 23 November 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) kicked off their “16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children” at their head-office in George.

The official launch took place at the GRDM and attracted a full house of representatives from local municipalities in the district, the South African Police Service, the Department of Social Services, Correctional Services, Phambili Centre and Working-on-Fire (WOF), who took hands with the municipality in this endeavor.

In officially opening the event, Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, lit a candle in remembrance of the victims of violence, more specifically women and children.  The spirit in the chambers immediately changed when Acting Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald, welcomed the guests with the words: “Stand up, speak out, act, love and protect”.  WOF representatives performed a song and poem depicting the trauma women experience when they fall victim to violence.

Acting Speaker of GRDM, Cllr Barnie Groenewald, welcomed the audience with the words: “Stand up, speak out, act, love and protect,” during the event.

Representatives from Working-on-Fire delivered a song and poem during the event.

Sector Commander for the Garden Route cluster, Major-General Oswald Reddy, from the South African Police Service (SAPS), after announcing that a total of 54 to 57 people are murdered on a daily basis in South Africa, stated:  “We live in a violent society where people have a high level of intolerance”.  Reddy advised that people should use conflict resolution management to deal with disagreements and not use violence as a resolution.  Among the 2017/2018 statistics revealed by Sergeant Adele van der Pool, 15 women and 14 children were murdered; 200 women and 104 children were sexually assaulted; 226 children and 321 women were raped.  Van der Pool further revealed that 2 824 assaults were reported of which 250 were children and 991 women. Investigating Officer, Sergeant Booysen, pleaded to all representatives present: “For months, mothers, aunts and teachers are aware of violent cases that were never reported – we need you to stand up and talk, whether the perpetrator is your husband or boyfriend, let us stand together and work as a team”.

Area Commissioner at the Department of Correctional Services, Ms Ndileka Booi, during her speech at the event.

Ms Zingiswa William, Community Development Supervisor: Eden & Central Karoo, at the Department of Social Services, elaborated on the Department’s Victim Empowerment Programme during her speech.

Area Commissioner for Correctional Services, Ms Ndileka Booi, during her speech stated that there are 13 cases of women who are currently sentenced at the Oudtshoorn Correctional facility after they have committed a crime as a reaction to abuse.  Now they have to serve years of imprisonment, which could have been prevented, if they had reported their cases before they committed the crime.

Ms Zingiswa Williams from the Department of Social Development, informed the audience about the Department’s three-fold Victim Empowerment Programme which is designed to support and empower victims of violence, whether the victims are referrals or intakes. Read more about the programme at

Cllr Khayalethu Lose, Portfolio Chairperson for Community Services at GRDM, signed the pledge in his support for no violence against women and children.

Sector Commander for the Garden Route cluster, Major-General Oswald Reddy from the South African Police Service (SAPS) signing the pledge.

An activist for “No Violence against Women and Children” and resident of the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor, George, Ms Christelle Damons, shared her personal story with the audience and spoke about how she was abused and how the experience repeated itself over and over again.  Through all these years she also made wrong choices, but she lifted herself up when she reported the case to SAPS. SAPS consequently advised her to be accommodated by the Phambili Centre in Rosemoor.  The Centre accommodated her and took care of her and her two children during this traumatic time of her live.  Her final message to the audience was: “It does not matter what you went through, talk to somebody or report the case”.

From left are: Social Worker at Phambili Centre, Ms Colleen Stoffels, Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development at GRDM, Cllr Joshlyn Johnson, Motivational Speaker and Activist for Violence against Women and Children, Ms Christelle Damons, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Garden Route DM Executive Mayor, Mr Simphiwe Dladla, Executive Deputy Mayor of Garden Route DM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, Sergeant Adele van der Pool from the SAPS and Garden Route DM Portfolio Chairperson for Finance, Cllr Jerome Lambaatjeen.

Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development at GRDM, Cllr Joslyn Johnson, extended a word of appreciation to all role-players who took hands with Garden Route District Municipality by creating awareness about violence against women and children.

Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, in her keynote address, urged members of the community and all present to always listen to their children.  “We need to take everything that our children share with us serious and we need to ACT.  Cllr Ruiters added: “Sometimes parents or family members hear what the children say, but we often do not believe them, due to our perception of the accused.  We cannot ask our children to be open towards us as parents, yet we listen to them with a selective ear or we do not believe everything they say”.

With these words, she closed off: “Let us continue to be active and vibrant custodians to fight all forms of violence against women and children and let us encourage our communities to report these crimes and through this, we all will be the beneficiaries of a better and healthier Garden Route district”.

In closing, representatives present signed a pledge to support all women and children in the Garden Route in the fight against abuse, after which GRDM Portfolio Chairperson for Rural Development, Cllr Joslyn Johnson thanked all representatives who took hands with GRDM and who attended the event.

02 November 2018 No hiking or feeding of Wildlife allowed after fires in the Garden Route

Media Release – urgent notice
Issued by CapeNature

02 November 2018

Due to the recent fires in the Garden Route, CapeNature is requesting that communities living adjacent to the burnt areas support the recovery of wildlife by monitoring the condition of species and to report any injured animals to CapeNature as soon as possible. It would be very helpful if the following information can be provided to CapeNature when an injured animal is found:

– Exact locality of where the injured animal has been found/spotted (GPS position if possible)

– Correct species identification (as far as possible)

– Brief description of the injuries to the animal

– If possible photographic evidence or video footage should be taken so that the correct information is made available to the Official for the most appropriate treatment.

Do not approach an injured animal or put yourself in any danger, the public can rather contact the CapeNature George Regional Office (044) 802 5300 for any wild animals found or the Outeniqua Nature Reserve on 087 087 4151 if animals are found inside Outeniqua Nature Reserve.

No feeding of wild animals

The residential areas that border the Outeniqua mountains have experienced human-wildlife conflict for many years (especially with baboons) and therefore CapeNature is not supportive of placing out feeding stations as this will enhance conflict situations in the future.

A habitat assessment will be undertaken to determine the availability of remaining habitat for wildlife as soon as the Garden Route District Disaster Management has given clearance to CapeNature to enter the burnt areas. At this stage the area is still ‘a no go zone’ due to areas still smouldering and deep hot ash.

Wild animals will naturally move to alternative habitat if there is available habitat, by feeding wild animals you are firstly keeping them from a natural evacuation of the area and secondly make them dependent on feeding stations. As soon as the habitat assessment is completed, the situation will be reassessed.

Help by assessing and reporting – not feeding!

It is therefore advisable that the condition of wildlife be monitored rather than fed by the public. We should support wildlife by allowing corridors in order to allow them to move freely, driving carefully along public roads, and ensuring that our pets do not get the opportunity to chase wildlife that graze/browse closer to residential areas.

Please drive carefully, road verges also provide food for wildlife such as small antelope and primate species as these areas are often intact and are good for grazing/browsing and will be feeding close to the road.

Please stay out of natural areas – no hiking

We ask that the public refrain from accessing any natural areas in the George/Knysna region where there are still active or smouldering fire lines. These areas continue to have a high fire danger risk so please help us keep everyone safe!

Issued by CapeNature